ETHICSCHOOL

Nanotechnology Reviews publiceerde Ineke Malsch’ artikel “Nano-education in Europe: nano-training for non-R&D jobs online in December 2013. Het artikel bespreekt de behoefte aan kennis op het gebied van nanotechnologie onder professionals op het gebied van dialoog en communicatie, regulering en innovatiebeleid over nanotechnologie. Geïnterviewde in alle drie sectoren willen meer weten van nanowetenschap, nanomaterialen, risico’s, wettelijke en sociale aspecten van nanotechnologie, bij voorkeur in hun eigen taal. Deze studie is uitgevoerd in het project NanoEIS, gefinancierd door de Europese Commissie (KP7, project nr. 319054).

Industrialists willing to take their responsibility for innovation need suitable key performance indicators for measuring success. These indicators are primarily needed to convince internal investors to support Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), because the return on such investments may not materialise in the short term. This was one outcome of the discussion on RRI in Industry, tabled by the PRISMA project (http://www.rri-prisma.eu/), 20-21 November 2017 in Berlin, Germany. The event featured a meeting of the minds of academics tasked to raise awareness in industry about the six RRI-keys of the European Commission (https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/en/h2020-section/responsible-research-innovation), and enlightened industrial representatives complaining that their past efforts in responsible innovation had been met with harsh criticism rather than applause in the public domain.

Bisschop Mirkis uit Kirkuk bezocht maandag 13 november 2017 de Sint Martinusparochie in Utrecht. Hij vertelde ruim vijftig deelnemers uit Utrechtse religieuze, maatschappelijke, wetenschappelijke en politieke kringen over zijn inspanningen om zo’n 700 vluchteling-studenten uit alle geledingen van de Irakese samenleving op te vangen in gemengde studentenhuizen. Jezidi’s, Soennieten, Sjiieten, Christenen en Koerden tussen 18 en 21 jaar leren vreedzaam samen te leven onder het dak van de bisschop, terwijl ze studeren aan de Universiteit van Kirkuk. Meer dan de helft zijn vrouwen, volgens de bisschop vaak succesvoller dan de mannen. Ongeveer 500 studenten gaan volgend jaar terug naar het bevrijde Mosul om daar hun studie voort te zetten. De bisschop wil hen graag financieel blijven ondersteunen. De benodigde middelen voor deze investering in een vreedzame toekomst voor Irak sprokkelt hij bij elkaar uit giften. Bovendien zijn gastdocenten die de studenten aan de Universiteit van Kirkuk willen onderwijzen van harte welkom. Het is immers goedkoper om de docenten naar Irak te laten vliegen, dan om Irakese studenten in Nederland op te leiden. Info: http://www.raadvankerken.nl/pagina/3970/utrecht_achter_actie en http://www.devoorzienigheid.nl/actueel

Op 9 november 2017 pleitte prof. Sheila Jasanoff (Harvard Universiteit) voor de integratie van (sociale) wetenschap en techniekstudies in hoger onderwijs in natuurwetenschap en technologie, in plaats van bioethiek. Wetenschap en Techniekstudies vond zij geschikter om studenten bewust te maken van maatschappelijke behoeften en waarden in de samenleving, die de acceptatie van technologie, ontwikkeld door deze onderzoekers beïnvloeden. Het Rathenau Instituut in Den Haag had haar uitgenodigd als speciale gastspreker over innovatie en ethiek. Jasanoff presenteerde de inhoud en context van haar recente boek “The ethics of invention”. Amnesty International had oorspronkelijk gevraagd om dit boek, maar haakte af tijdens het schrijfproces. De aanwezigheid van een vertegenwoordiger van deze NGO onder het publiek bood nieuwe perspectieven om de belangstelling voor verantwoord innoveren onder haar leden te bevorderen. Info: www.rathenau.nl en http://books.wwnorton.com/books/The-Ethics-of-Invention/.

On 9 November 2017, Prof. Sheila Jasanoff (Harvard University) pleaded for integrating training in social science and technology studies (STS) in higher education of natural scientists and engineers, instead of bioethics. STS was more suitable to raise awareness of societal needs and values held by lay citizens, important for the acceptance of the technologies developed by these scientists. She was the special guest speaker on innovation and ethics invited by the Rathenau Institute in The Hague. Jasanoff presented the contents and context of her recent book “The Ethics of Invention”. The book had originally been solicited by Amnesty International, but during the writing process, this NGO lost interest in it. The presence of a representative of this NGO in the audience offered perspectives for rekindling interest in responsible innovation among its members. Info: www.rathenau.nl and http://books.wwnorton.com/books/The-Ethics-of-Invention/.

Op 7 november 2017 organiseerde het Ministerie van Infrastructuur en Waterstaat een conferentie “Naar een toekomstbestendig biotechnologiebeleid” in NEMO, Amsterdam. Dit was de recentste ontwikkeling in een consultatieproces n.a.v. de Trendanalyse Biotechnologie 2016 door drie adviesorganen in juni 2016: http://www.cogem.net/index.cfm/nl/over-ons/werkzaamheden/trendanalyse. Het kabinet stuurde haar reactie op 12 december 2016 naar de Tweede Kamer, waarna deze opriep tot een maatschappelijke dialoog in een motie op 23 februari 2017. Het ministerie heeft tot dusver verschillende bijeenkomsten met stakeholders georganiseerd, en de meningen van 150 burgers geconsulteerd: https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/documenten/rapporten/2017/11/07/publieksopvattingen-over-biotechnologie. NEMO Kennislink lanceerde zojuist de nieuwe interactieve website www.biotechnologie.nl, om te onderzoeken welke waarden de meningen van burgers over biotechnologie beïnvloeden.  Het ministerie zal begin 2018 de voortgang in de discussie over modernisering van biotechnologiebeleid rapporteren aan de Tweede Kamer. Stakeholdervertegenwoordigers wordt gevraagd een intentieverklaring te ondertekenen om deel te nemen aan voortgaande dialoog over toekomstbestendige regulering en beleid inzake biotechnologie. 

On 7 November 2017, the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management organised a conference “Towards Future Proof Biotechnology Policy”, in NEMO, Amsterdam. This was the latest step in a consultation process, initiated in response to the Trend Analysis Biotechnology 2016, published by three advisory bodies in June 2016: http://www.cogem.net/index.cfm/en/background/trend-analysis. After the Dutch government reaction on 12 December 2016, the Second Chamber of the Parliament had called for public dialogue on biotechnology in a motion adopted on 23 February 2017. The ministry has so far organised several stakeholder sessions since June 2017, and consulted the opinions of 150 lay citizens. NEMO Kennislink launched the new interactive website www.biotechnologie.nl to study which values the Dutch public holds in relation to biotechnology. The ministry will report progress in the discussion on modernisation of biotechnology policy to the parliament by beginning of 2018, and is asking stakeholders to sign a declaration of intentions to enter in continuing dialogue about future proof regulations and policies governing biotechnology.

Op 2 november 2017 lanceerde het Bureau Biosecurity van RIVM het nieuwe online Biosecurity Kwetsbaarheidsanalyse-instrument, in het Nederlands en Engels. Het is bedoeld om biosecurity professionals te ondersteunen bij kwalitatieve analyse van de capaciteit van hun organisatie om de biosecurity van hun activiteiten op het gebied van levenswetenschappen te beschermen. Het instrument is complementair aan de bestaande Biosecurity Zelfscan toolkit. Info: https://www.biosecuritykwetsbaarheidsanalyse.nl/

On 2 November 2017, Bureau Biosecurity of RIVM in the Netherlands launched the new online Biosecurity Vulnerability Scan tool, in Dutch and English. This is designed as a structured instrument supporting biosecurity professionals in qualitative assessment of their organisation’s capability for protecting the biosecurity of their life science activities. The tool is complementary to the existing screening level Biosecurity Self-Assessment Toolkit. Info: https://www.biosecurityvulnerabilityscan.nl/

On 31-10-2017, Pax Christi International, CIDSE and COMECE organised a seminar on “Extractives in Latin America” in Brussels. Martha Ines Romero, Latin America and Caribbean coordinator of Pax Christi discussed how international business including mining was intertwined with violence and infringements on human rights of indigenous people in Latin American countries. She protested the lack of involvement of local communities in public dialogue on mining activities, which tended to be accompanied by corruption, mismanagement and hiring of armed groups. She called on the EU to not just organise dialogue between companies and local communities, but also take initiatives to strengthen the rule of law and protect Human Rights defenders. Pax Christi International has trained local communities in non-violent resistance in 6 Latin American countries.

Mikeas Sanches Gomez of Zodevite in Chiapas, Mexico was the laureate of the Pax Christi International peace prize 2017. She explained the plans of the Mexican government to undertake large scale extractive activities on the territory of the Zoque indigenous community. Many international and Mexican companies were interested in the concessions. Their organisation had developed and translated information materials in the three local languages (Zoque, Spanish and English). They organised a non-violent campaign rejecting the mining activities. They were confronted with intimidation, killing and arrest of community leaders, including Silvia Juarez Juarez who was accused of kidnapping while she was demonstrated not to be in the area where this took place. Zodevite opposed all mining activities which were only serving economic purposes while damaging the environment, health and human rights of the local communities. They wanted to live sustainably in harmony with nature, while they did not believe in ecological mining.

Tove Sovndahl Gant, policy officer indigenous peoples of the EU External Action Service presented international activities to strengthen international treaties protecting human rights of indigenous peoples. She explained the EU’s role in international negotiations on a new binding treaty, and in building capacity in the EU’s partner countries to implement the current UN guiding principles on business and human rights. An EC staff working document issued in October 2016 on the rights of indigenous peoples concluded that the EU has done much good, but that there is room to improve the EU impact and to be much more effective in protecting these rights.

Stefan Reinhold of CIDSE presented the outcome of the open-ended working party meeting on the binding treaty, the week before. While the negotiations were expected to continue in the coming years, he was optimistic about the prospects.

Issues in the discussion were the role of churches in supporting local communities and in offering a platform for dialogue between these communities and mining companies. While such dialogue was not rejected, Martha Ines Romero stressed the need to support local communities, who were in a weaker position and whose rights must be defended unequivocally by churches. Pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudato Si” and his interventions addressing mining were welcome. Other participants asked what could be done to support the campaign for the binding treaty and about the importance of allowing local communities to express themselves in their native language.

Info: http://www.paxchristi.net/news/pax-christi-international-hosts-latin-american-delegation-advocacy-meetings-eu-brussels/6812#sthash.Nel1GLUR.dpbs

Dialoog over nanotechnologie
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